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Why Write, Dammit?!

The Writing Hand

I’m not a very good writer, by which I don’t only mean it in regards to what I’ve written, but also and mostly to how I’ve written.

The act of writing pains me and I’ll pretty much do anything mostly legal I can to get myself out of it. I guess the best way to express how I feel about writing is: I don’t like having to write, but I truly love having had written.

But still, I don’t really know why I do feel the need to write except that there is some unidentified force and/or source beyond my reach and comprehension that obliges me to do so.

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Bookies on the Books

Haruki MurakamiThe Nobel Prize for Literature will be announced next week and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the odds makers are making noise for the usual suspects.

Of course we all know it’s all just a guessing-game (as most gambling is) as to who will win, a game depending on the author and scholars who make up the selection panel, and, unfortunately, the international politics at play.

That said, still it’s fun to guess. Here are some of the odds:

Haruki Murakami is the favorite at 5 to 1
Joyce Carol Oates is at 12 to 1
Philip Roth is at 16 to 1
Thomas Pynchon is at 25 to 1
Don DeLillo is at 33 to 1
Richard Ford is also at 33 to 1
Cormac McCarthy, Salman Rushdie, and Bob Dylan are all at 50 to 1

I don’t think I’ve ever read a winner before he or she had been announced (or too many thereafter, either). My reading list is way too full of dead authors that I’m supposed to read so it’s darn near impossible to find time for the living ones I’m also supposed to read.

But I have read many on the list here and I personally like Oates (at least she’s interesting on Twitter — but I’d guess her chances are diminished somewhat since a woman was chosen last year).

However, when considering this list along with the politics du jour, I’d have to go with Murakami, even though (especially since?) they have recently awarded an Asian writer, Mo Yan from China, which was highly politicized.

But the recently aggressive China and somewhat recently humbled (the past couple decades anyway) Japan have been going at it pretty good lately, so this might be a chance for the Nobel Prize pickers to stick it in China’s government’s eye again.

Unfortunately, I have no idea if there are any contending Ukrainian, Iranian, Uighur, or any other writers from politically sensitive countries.

But, I’m looking forward to finding out who the winner will be…and the sure-to-come guilty letdown I’ll get when I realize it’s yet another writer I have never read.